Jugo Slavia Claims Jewish Inventor of the Zeppelin As Native Son
Menu JTA Search

Jugo Slavia Claims Jewish Inventor of the Zeppelin As Native Son

Download PDF for this date

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Jugoslavian newspapers, in commenting on the trans-Atlantic flight of the Graf Zeppelin, claim that the Jewish timber merchant, David Schwartz be recognized as the inventor of the Zeppelin.

A plan is put forward by the papers to bring Schwartz’s body from Vienna for re-interment with honors at Zagreb. In presenting the claim for honor to be paid to David Schwartz, the newspapers recount the history of the invention of the first dirigible. David Schwartz, Jugoslavian Jew, who later lived in Vienna died there of shock when he received a telegram telling him that the German Government was interested in his work and would further it. Count Zeppelin afterwards purchased the invention from Schwartz’s widow.

David Schwartz was a timber merchant of Zagreb, at that time a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Besides his activity as a timber merchant, he studied engineering and mechanics. His early experiments showed that no airship could be built of textiles and he was the first to utilize aluminum for the purpose.

He negotiated with the German government and also with the Czarist government when his own funds were used up and he needed financial support for further experiments. Schwartz went to Petersburg and built his model, making two successful experimental flights. But he felt uncomfortable in anti-Semitic Petersburg and fled on the eve of his third experimental flight, destroying his model.

The German government then agreed to back the experiments. On January 13, 1897, Schwartz was notified by telegram from Berlin that everything was in readiness for the flight. He was so overjoyed that his heart gave out.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund